I was a teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District for more than thirty years. I loved it. I don’t remember one day when I felt I was going to ‘work.’ I don’t believe there is a more important or satisfying career than teaching. Parents, grandparents, and guardians entrust their most valuable treasures, and our country’s most important resources – our children, to teachers. With the exception of a few autodidacts, no child becomes a great writer, surgeon, lawyers or teacher without a good education.
I don’t believe there is a ‘shortage’ of people who want to be teachers. Thousands of qualified experienced teachers no longer teach or want to teach because of the lack of RESPECT, low pay; CLASS SIZE, and because of PARENTAL AND POLITICAL INTERFERENCE. Younger people look at the above and chose other career paths.
CONSIDER THE ROLE OF TEACHERS
TEACHERS ARE EXPECTED TO:
enter a room full of children with well-prepared lessons that will inform and further development, peak curiosity, and instill a love for learning;
check for signs of antisocial behavior, neglect, malnutrition, abuse, and any physical or mental deficiencies.
check for weapons, drugs, bullying, cheating, and raise each child’s sense of self-esteem and personal pride;
teach patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, and fair play in a political climate that exhibits little of it;
do all of the above with a whiteboard or a piece of chalk, dated textbooks, or newer additions that may alter the reality of history.
wear a big smile, and exist on a starting salary that qualifies for food stamps.
According to my Google search, as of August 10, 2022 the starting salary for an Entry Level Teacher in San Francisco, California is $38,931. That’s $3,245 a month, which leaves little for food, clothing, or housing when the average rent for an apartment in San Francisco is $3,397. Some teachers even have children and pets to care for.
Without an alternate source of income teachers will seldom live where they chose, savor the smell of a brand-new car or fly first class. I know.
In a recent world survey of how teachers are valued around the world Egypt ranked highest, Asia, Taiwan, and Russia; the United States placed thirty second.
The different perception across countries in the way teachers are valued by the public is important. Respect and compensation affect the quality of the job they do, which ultimately affects how each teacher encourages the best from each child. What kind of parent would hand their child to someone who is not credentialed, undervalued, and barely eking out a living?
The average size of a classroom is 1024 square feet, which is intended to comfortably house 14 - 15 students. I taught five classes daily in addition to a homeroom. My classes averaged thirty-three students, 198 student contacts a day. If I gave a class assignment, homework, or a quiz and spent one-minute grading and writing comments on my student’s work that came to about three hours a night. Of course, if you can comment, grade, and prepare for the next day’s lessons, in less than three hours you’re a magician and should be headlining in Las Vegas. David Copperfield averages $50,000,000 annually.
PARENTAL AND POLITICAL INTERFERENCE
Currently, some parents and politicians are trying, and in too many cases succeeding in stifling truthful discussions on a myriad of educational issues. In Florida, books have been banned or disappeared from libraries and classrooms. What intelligent parent doesn’t want their child to read “The Catcher in the Rye,” “The Diary of Ann Frank” “To Kill a Mocking bird,” “The Call of the Wild,” “1984,” “Of Mice and Men,” or “Lord of the Flies?” I suspect that the parent who favors banning books had poor teachers and never learned or understood the magic and power of a book.
Teachers may soon be asked to qualify yearly with firearms as part of ‘professional’ growth. According to a new federal report, more school shootings with casualties occurred during the 2020-22 school year than in any other year since data collection began.
There is no shortage of teachers or people that would love to teach. Our society should to take a long hard look at how teachers are treated. A child’s education is one of the most important experiences of their lifetime. When you entrust your child to a teacher what is taught and how it is taught will affect your child for the rest of their lives. Doesn’t everyone want the most qualified, dedicated and skilled person for that endeavor?